Ask TOH | Laminate Repair, Walkway Fix, Air Filters

Up in the loft, general contractor Tom Silva shows host Kevin O'Connor how to repair damaged laminate countertops. Then, landscape contractor Roger Cook helps a homeowner rebuild a brick walkway. Then Tom, Kevin, Roger, and plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey ask, "What is it?" Then Richard shows Kevin several different types of filters for forced-air heating and cooling systems.

Repairing a laminate countertop

Up in the loft, Tom shows Kevin several ways to repair damaged areas in laminate countertops. For a section with a large damaged area, Tom showed how he cut a hole in the countertop and installed a specially-designed cutting board. For a laminate edge that has come loose, Tom uses a clothes iron to reactivate the glue and seal it back in place. For a laminate edge that is missing or broken, Tom shows how he "steals" another piece from an inconspicuous area and uses it as a repair patch. He does this by heating the glue with a clothes iron and then gently removes the piece of laminate. To attach the repair piece, Tom cuts it to fit the damaged area and attaches it by using the clothes iron to reactivate the glue.

Where to find it?

The cutting board that Tom demonstrated is manufactured by Counterware cutting boards.

Clothes irons and laminate for countertops can be found at most home centers.

Repairing a sinking brick walkway

Roger helped a homeowner with a brick walkway that was uneven and sinking in several spots. The walkway had been installed on a base of sand, so the only way to repair it was to remove all of the brick, remove the sand beneath, and prepare a new base. Roger made a new base made up of "pack" and stone dust. With the new base prepared, Roger created the edge of the walkway by installing a "sailor" course, in which the bricks stand upright, side-by-side. With the sailors in place, Roger filled in the field with the remaining bricks in a "running bond" pattern and swept stone dust into the gaps to lock the bricks in place. To keep the sailors firmly in place, Roger troweled a "wedge" of concrete on the outside of the walkway, just below grade.

Where to find it?

Stone dust and "pack" are available at some home centers, garden centers, and masonry yards. Power compactors can be rented at some home centers and many power tool rental centers.

Air filters for forced-air heating & cooling systems

Up in the loft, Richard showed Kevin why it's important to regularly change air filters in a forced-air HVAC system. Richard recommended making sure to get the right size and to select a "pleated" filter, which is better than a non-pleated one that you can see through. Richard also showed a "reusable" filter that can be cleaned and reinstalled. Finally, Richard showed an "electronic" air cleaner that causes dust to stick to plates that can be cleaned by rinsing with water.

Where to find it?

Electrostatic pleated air filters are available at most home centers and hardware stores. Many of the filters Richard presented are manufactured by 3M Filtrete.

Professionally-installed electronic air cleaners are available through HVAC contractors. The model Richard displayed is manufactured by Trane.

Additional assistance was provided by:
Air Purchases, Inc.
24 Blanchard Road
Burlington, MA
(781) 273-2050

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